Mom Hit by Bike & Gravely Injured After Rider Screamed at Her to Move

cyclist killed womanIn a horrifying story out of New York City, Jill Tarlov, a mom of two college-age children and the wife of an executive at CBS, was hit by a speeding bicycle in the car lane. She is now brain-dead. It is the kind of tragic tale that chills the soul.

One minute she was out buying a birthday present for her daughter, and the next, she was in the hospital and unresponsive, all because of a bike accident. It's the kind of thing that happens far too often.

There are so many stories of people hit by cyclists going the wrong way down one-way streets, speeding in car lanes, and running red lights because they can. In this case, the cycle was manned by Jason Marshall, 31, a musician who allegedly yelled at Tarlov to get out of the way before mowing her down on his $4,000 bike.

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A few years ago, my best friend was in a similar accident and was in a cast for months, unable to walk and forced to have surgery. Last year, I was walking in Manhattan's Upper West Side and saw a bike rider take a woman down and leave her in the gutter, bleeding, as he sped off. It was awful.

But I've been on the other side, too. I am also a cyclist.

For years, I commuted to work on my bike. Rain or shine. I rode through puddles in ponchos and snowstorms in thick boots. I have been doored by cars, ignored by pedestrians, and nearly run over. Cyclists aren't the only bad guys. I know that from experience.

A friend's father who was riding his bike was killed by a speeding truck whose driver didn't bother to look out for him. Another friend died in a similar way on Martha's Vineyard by some teens who were driving too fast and knocked her off her bike.

Yes, cyclists in cities like New York definitely need to be more careful. They need to obey traffic laws and use bike lanes. And those riders who ignore the laws and hurt pedestrians ought to be punished to the highest degree.

But people who ride bikes also need protection themselves.

It's very common to hear people complain about bicycles, and terrible tragedies like the one involving Tarlov make it easy to see why. Riders who disobey laws do every other cyclist a disservice. But those of us who are careful and who try our best to stay in the bike lanes and stop when we are supposed to are at risk too. Everyone needs to share the road.

My heart aches for this mom's family. It aches for every pedestrian ever killed or hurt by a cyclist. It's far too common.

But the hatred of those who ride bikes is not entirely fair. Not all of us are like that. Not all of us break laws or hurt people, and many of us have been hurt by careless cars (and sometimes even careless pedestrians) ourselves. What happened to Tarlov is devastating, and if the cyclist in the case is found to have been entirely at fault, then he should be punished.

But let's not vilify everyone who ride bikes. The number of ghost bikes (those painted white honoring riders who have been killed by cars) should tell you it's not just pedestrians in danger.

We all share the road. We should all use it respectfully. If we all did our part, we might be able to avoid so many heartbreaking stories like this one.

Do you ride a bike? Have you ever been knocked down by one?

 

Image © iStock.com/LeoPatrizi

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